Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Bat by Jo Nesbø

(pb; 1997, 2012: first book in the Inspector Harry Hole series. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.)

From the back cover:

"Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction."


Bat is a flawed but worthwhile read. It is flawed because its plot feels scattershot at times, and, as a result, the book runs longer than it should, anywhere between twenty-five and fifty pages. What saves this otherwise so-so police procedural is its intriguing – for some exotic – environs [Australia], some of its interesting characters, its use of Aboriginal folklore, as well as other Australian cultural elements. Bat is not worth owning if purchased at full price but it is worth reading if bought used or borrowed from your local library.

Followed by Cockroaches.

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